Watford Ladies were left to rue missed chances as they failed to build on their impressive opening day win against Cardiff City Ladies, slipping to a 3-1 defeat against Loughborough Foxes Women.

At a rain soaked Kings Langley, Watford boss Armand Kavaja made four changes to the side who triumphed 5-2 on the opening weekend with 17-year-old Amy Martin among those drafted in for her debut in goal.

There were also first starts for the Golden Girls’ duo of Andrea Carid and Katie O’Leary, while Samantha Hallsworth earned a recall at the heart of the defence.

An eventual defeat though, made a mockery of the supremacy Watford had displayed in attacking areas, albeit without demonstrating the necessary cutting edge that their more clinical visitors possessed on a disappointing afternoon.

The Hornets had it all to do after a first half in which goals from Rebecca Knight and Kate Lowder put the visitors firmly in control.

They rallied and eventually halved the arrears when Leanne Bell found the net, only for Charlotte Cooper to respond and re-establish her side’s two-goal cushion.

Watford had the better of the opening exchanges as both captain Helen Ward and Carid were denied by smart saves from Loughborough goalkeeper Amy Burle.

Somewhat against the run of play it was the visitors who snatched the lead, and the manner in which it arrived from a set-piece would doubtlessly have aggrieved the Golden Girls.

An inviting free-kick by Laura Steele was met by Knight, who headed past Martin to open the scoring.

Six minutes later the Foxes had shown a clinical streak that would desert their hosts, adding a second goal after good work by Eva Rogers had found Lowder, and the latter made no mistake to double the advantage.

To their credit, however, Watford continued to create no shortage of opportunities. Carid was again frustrated by the form of Burle and Bell then fired wide as they searched for a lifeline.

Up the other end, Martin had to be at her best to first deny both Rebecca McGrother and Rogers from making the lead unassailable, before keeping out Cooper soon after.

Rogers then slammed an effort into the crossbar as Loughborough sought to put the gloss on an impressive afternoon’s work, before the Hornets looked to set up a thrilling finish.

With 13 minutes to play a cross eventually found Bell lurking at the back post, taking a touch to steady herself before coolly finishing for her first senior goal for Watford.

As the home side sensed a route back into the contest, their efforts would be undone within minutes thanks to an excellent finish by Cooper who gave Martin no chance to make it 3-1.

It’s a win that keeps Loughborough top of the early-season table, while Watford were left frustrated after proving unable to build on their big win over Cardiff last time out.

Watford now switch their attentions to the FA WNL Cup and a trip to fourth tier outfit Poole Town in the determining round of the competition.

Meanwhile, the Golden Girls' league trip to Oxford United has been moved forward a day to Saturday, September 8 with a 3pm kick-off.